Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another life

Reading the last line of this article and after the week's experience, I hope there is no virtual Brito in the Philippine's consulate ;)
P.S:For those of you who dont know Brito, she is the contact person in the Philippines' consulate in Chennai.


I was going through the list of free vista sidebar gadgets on the windows live website to find some useful time saving gadgets for my laptop. I just couldn't stop laughing looking at this gadget:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I was quite disturbed today after reading in the newspaper that in Haiti, people eat "mud cakes" - made of clay as their staple diets. People are so poor that they cannot afford any kind of food and have come to the last resort to sustain their lives - eating dirt. Another article spoke of terrorism, another of pakistan's ISI.
So what do today's typical newspapers contain? I will try recollecting the usual topics in the newspapers: * Terrorism * Dirty politics at individual and party level - keeping only their own welfare in mind * Corruption (Directly or Implied) * Scandals * Murder * Usual municipality problems * Abject poverty * Scientific breakthrough (once a month?) * China's another new pearl in the string of pearls theory used by them to defeat India * Pakistan's violations or actions that are detrimental to India * Weapons developed or acquiried or scandals in acquisition for India's defence * Editorials with some good opinions to solve problems by experts (Unfortunately they are read more for group discussions in MBA recruitment than by concerned authorities to actually make the change) * Sports (Does not affect you in any way at all, except emotionallyif you are still emotional about winning or losing a game) * Business news (Does not affect you in any way, unless you have something in this area to gain or lose) * Medical breakthrough (once in six months?) * Celebrity photos and news (Useful only for gossiping) * A rare feat achieved by an Indian * Supplements- how to improve skin, realtioships, home * The IN thing in education and careers.

Considering that the above items cover most of the topics in any day's newspaper and being aware of these, there is hardly any breaking news at all in the newspapers ot television news channels. And most of these articles are quite depressing, disgusting and frustrating to even know. Life could be better if we decide which of the problems we intend to take it up and solve in life and do something about it and then stop reading about these news' and get worried about the future. It should be good to know that we have atleast done something to solve one problem. I am actually thinking to stop reading the regular newspapers and in the process actually save the much needed time to do something more useful.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Useful Railway information

Here is a way to find out seat availability on all trains between two stations in one shot for you to make a decision immediately:

Track your train's location through this:

Improve your chances of booking through tatkal:

Here is some information that can be very useful for you during emergencies:
1. It is possible to travel ticketless in Indian Railways. The penalty for that is Rs.250/-. You will have to pay the full ticket cost plus this penalty money to the ticket checker and he should allow you to travel in the train without any seat or berth. If you object to pay this penalty, then there will be a court case and a fine of Rs.1000/- (plus jail upto six months if the judge wants it).

2. If the TC objects or has any problem, go to the guard of the train. The guard is the KING of the train. If he writes and gives that you can travel in his train, no TC can object. So tell the guard your emergency, your reason for travelling, beg or cry or do what you want. If the guard is ok with it, your travel can be go ahead in the train.

3. If you ever wanted to go from any place to any other far place and don't find direct trains, then think of going through any of the following three stations: Guntakal, Bhoosawal & Nagpur. These three places have the highest connectivity to trains in all directions. So these are major connectivity points. P.S: I dont recommend ticketless travelling, but in case of real emergencies, just do it. Dont get scared of the jail term or the Rs.1000/-. That is just an extreme case.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My nomadic life

During the last few days, I have started feeling a strong nomadic feeling attached to myself. This feeling has been there on and off in a mild way after I had quit my job by may end. I have been travelling quite a lot since then. Bangalore ->Madurai ->Bangalore ->Ahmedabad ->Bhavnagar ->Ahmedabad ->Bhavnagar ->Ahmedabad ->Bhavnagar ->Ahmedabad ->Chennai. And I am still on the run to get the plethora of tasks to get over before I fly to Philippines. I counted and found out that during the last 5 weeks, I have had 14 transitions of places where I have slept, and a new environment to get used to each time when I get up. All this has made me go into a kind of time warp, where I seem to have lost the sense of time. I dont remember when a certain thing happened in the past. U can relate to any change only if there is a base to start off. In my case, I have no base to compare anything and my brain is unable to process change in date or day or week or month. When one of my aunt's asked me a simple question on the phone as to when I arrived in Chennai, my mind went blank. I knew it was sometime last week, but could not recollect what day. I thought for a couple of seconds as to how to derive to the day when I reached and that involved calculating backwards where I was and what I did each day. I did not want to seem to think so much and gave her a vague reply "last week". Today when one of my aunt's asked me what I had eaten at the other aunt's place, I just remembered the colour and some ingredients of one of the sidedish I ate and could not remember what was the main vegetable in that sidedish. But, I managed to remember the other sidedish and foodstuffs. My mind has been drifting along various thoughts, tensions, emotions and such innumerable changes for quite a long time now and has kind of shut itself to such irrelevant facts and (some relevant facts) of the past. Good or bad, I am not sure. There seems to be more transitions in the places I sleep and the toll of transitions is going to rise to 20 by the time I am going to reach Manila. In one way, I am looking forward to reach Manila so that I can start to lead a stable life. Long term continous change has started to take its toll on my brain. I hope it is just temporary.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Illiterate literates

I have a few at home. My parents. Yes, both are post graduates in different fields which qualifies for being more than just literate. But when it comes to computers, I will call them illiterates(atleast a year ago). Same is the case at my aunt's place where I am in Chennai right now. Seems to me that my entire parent's generation would be happy to be illiterate in computers throughout their lives if there was no necessity to learn computers at all. Unfortunately, for them now it is being a necessity. From checking the bank's account statement, to receiving photos of newly born kids in the family, to searching horoscopes for their children's marriage are quite some things that are forcing the generation to forcefully learn computers. Somehow, their mantra for not learning computers irrespective of the person, place and time is "There is no necessity to learn now. When the need arises, we shall see". In other words, "I will not learn till it is forced upon me to". What an attitude!!!!
Grown ups and still acting like stubborn kids...!!! And when the need arises, usually the children are away from home and cant learn it by themselves. So I have enrolled myself to teach my uncle, aunt, mom and dad, the basics of computers so that they can send, receive emails with attachments, talk on gtalk, etc in the little time I have left before going to Manila. It is time we taught them a lesson ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Imagination v/s Reality

Imaginational conversation:(I wished for this conversation) Me: Hey, I went bird watching at Bhavnagar last week. Female Friend: Birds? M: ya, birds, if you know what I mean ;) F: Oh! so how many "birds" did you watch? M: hmmm... a few good ones F: tell me more M: I had gone with my mom F: Oh! how come? shopping? M: No. she insisted on going out to show me the "birds" F: what? M: ya. cool know? F: hmmm....I dont know what to say... M: ok, I went bird watching to see real birds with feathers and not babe watching as you understood. Reality:(And this is what really happened) me: i went for bird-watching the other day in Bhavnagar :) FF: bird-watching ? me: ya. if u know what i mean... FF: no me: birds.... FF: ? me: with feathers and they fly..... with my mom saw a few peacocks and peahens FF: ok :(

Reason ho tho aisa

The strangest reason I have heard for keeping a beard and moustache: "It provides warmth to the face".

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unusual job

Reached Chennai, today evening after a long 34 hour journey by train. And here I am, sitting at my aunt's place and doing something so odd that I never thought I would do. Downloading, sorting, converting formats and taking printouts of files. Now there is nothing unusual about it except that the files are horoscopes and biodatas of very eligible girls :)) for my eligible cousin brother in Mumbai. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Hello readers, I will on a hiatus of blogging as I will be on a trip to Chennai by train and back after approximately 2 weeks. I will have very little net access and may not be able to blog, though I will definitely try. So long, Ciao.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zen thoughts

"Life is the all about learning the unwritten rules."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reality shows and all that cow dung

The latest(or maybe not THE latest) anti reformist step taken by the govt. of India is that courier companies should not handle and transport couriers below a certain weight. The most obvious winner in this case is India Post. It is not hard to fathom why the govt. is doing this. The number of workers working in the postal department is only slightly more or less than that were working in the 90's. Then the age of mobile telephony and internet and now broadband internet at almost every high end and middle class home. Those were the days of Surabhi, when Siddarth Das and Renuka Sahane towards the end of the episode used to say the number of postcards received every week for their contest to win a trip(abroad or in India, I can't remember). These postcards were mainly from people in the middle class who used to buy the postcard, write down the answer and the address, go to the post box to post it and try to win something for themelves. And now, the days of reality shows, where millions of namooneys watch the hyped up shows which are dragged like tom's tongue in Tom and Jerry. They desperately try to bring a climax to the result situation which can be otherwise done casually and pleasantly. And all the namooneys who watch it sitting at their house supposedly have a big reason to watch the show(or even without a reason). These people have after all spent Rs.6 per sms to vote the candidate who they like based on the state they are from, their beauty, and whatever else their criteria. And that too when they have nothing in the world to win from messaging. This is the reason mobile telephone companies and advertising companies are raking in the moolah, whereas the Indian public is wasting their double moolah(money + time). If 1990's tv shows of India showed the middle classes' finese with great variety of prime time television, the 2000s are the age of sms crazy psychos whose only alternate adventurous life to the day to day life is the reality shows.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One of those things that makes the world go around

Luv.... One of those essential emotions that makes people go around... sometimes madly.... One of those things that is so hard to words.... One of those things that will bring out the best in you... One of those very things that can break your heart in a manner that there is no way to rectify it..... The below link uncovers different types of love. Ask yourself some true questions to discover with what kind of love do you really love a person you say you love.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hi, you suckers!!!

Hi, you suckers!!! Yes, those of you who only have ULIPs(Unit linked plans) as their insurance. Have you calculated the total worth of how much your nominee will receive in case of the event of your death tomorrow(God forbid). Under the present scenario, where are the markets are in bad shape, it will be hardly anything worthwhile to take care of your family's needs for the decades to come. (And ya, didn't the agent promise you a lot of money in case of death? WHAT IF you pass away this month? What do you think the nominee will get? Do calculate.) If you are going for a ULIP, be sure to pass away when the market is at a high, else, it is going to be harder on your family.

Sorry for that tone, but it is meant for all those educated stupid people who will buy insurance for cars which are worth more than a few lakhs and value themselves far less than the cost of their vehicles. Sorry, I don't have any regards for people who value their lives less than that of the vehicles they drive. There are so worthless. Coming to my point, ULIP is/was the hottest-est newest-est product in the financial markets in India and the agents get huge commisions on selling these compared to other products and hence they will push you to buy it so much. The truth is the output of the pay in case of death is the maximum of either the assured amount or the cost of your units accumulated. I believe that everyone would like to see their families not suffer financially after the passing away of a loved one(the bread winner). Now for that you need to calculate the amount of money that would be safe enough to keep your family in good financial health. This amount is kind of known per se. How can anyone be so stupid to not secure money for the family and allow the vagarities of the world directly affect your financial position of tomorrow? It is never too late to get a term plan life insurance as they have many benefits:
1. They are the cheapest form of insurance. (For every rupee insured).
2. They pay back the full assured amount.
3. This is just like your vehicle insurance. You pay a certain sum of money every year that you don't get back. If the insured loses his/her life, the insurance company pays the money assured(If the vehicle is lost, the insurance company pays the insured amount).
If you are ok with this form of insurance for the vehicle, then why not for life.

A small comparison: A 24 year old pays around Rs.2800 for one year for a term policy of an insured amount of around Rs.14 lakhs, but I am sure if you own a new car worth far less, your insurance premium will be much more than this(Rs.2800). So if you don't have a term plan, then get yourself one asap.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Forget the father, forget the mother

Forget the terms "mother" and "father". It does not seem to make any sense to me anymore. After the recent event that has taken place in the US, I am very confused about the definition of father and mother. I have a few questions that I would like you to answer before I go ahead with this topic:
1. Does giving birth to a baby make a person a mother?
2. Does providing the egg for making the baby constitute making the mother?
3. Has the mother always have to be a female?

In the most conservative answers, yes will hold good for all these questions. But think a little more liberally. Answer1: No. Haven't you heard of surrogate mothers? The egg donor is called the mother. Ans2: yes, a biological mother. But no, in case of adoptions.
Ans3: Now I am really confused about the meaning of the mother in the first place. So I will say cant say. I will explain this part. In the most reccent event, a father has given birth to a child. The story is as follows: There was this girl born 35 years ago and around ten years ago got her sex changed by surgically removing her mammary glands and taking testosterone, but retained her original reproductive organs. Then the state of Oregon in US pronounced that the person was man enough to be called a man(now this is legal). So she is now a he. He marries a woman. But the woman has had hysterectomy( a surgery where the uterus is removed) and cannot bear a child. So he stops his testosterone doses, orders a donor sperm, gets artificial insemination done, and he reproduces naturally(remember he still has the female reproductive organs). So he(legally a man) bears a child. 

So now I am really confused about the role of a person as a mother? What is the one critical condition that makes a person a mother? Looking by the way things are going, gays and lesbians wanting to adopt and raise children and also use donor eggs/sperms to have kids of their own, the definition of father and mother is going to be very blur and fuzzy. Interestingly, I have a solution to this :) Forget the terms father and mother. Call them parents. Primary parent and secondary parent. (Just like in a joint bank account). If the parents have two kids, one could be the primary parent for one and the secondary for another and alternatively for the second kid. This generalisation will bring all kinds of parents to the same level(Gay parents, Normal heterosexual parents, Lesbian parents, Single dad parent, Single mom parent and guardians for kids without parents). All will anyway be taking on the role of a human being who wishes well for the kid and wants the kids to succeed. So we can put an end to stopping the discrimination based on gender and then even the sexual minorities(cross dressers, transvestites, gays, lesbians and people with genetic defects where they may have the sex chromosomes of XXY and very rarely XXXY) will benefit and everyone should be treated as equal human beings. Oh! And by the way haven't you heard "Research is on to make a sperm in the lab just from a woman"? Science keeps getting interesting. :-) If you know or think you know the answer to this question, please comment :"What is the one critical condition that makes a person a mother?"

Update 26 Sep 2012:
After 4 years of proposing my above idea, France is set to ban words 'mother' and 'father' on official documents under plans to legalize gay marriage.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The right angle

"Like there is always a visual access angle to a skirt, there is always a tax angle to equity derivatives."

Bhavnagar - Part 2

The houses here are Huge(yes, with a capital 'H'). There are so many of them(the whole city is of them) and are bigger than the bigger bungalows in Bangalore. The footpaths are not paved but are huge and once the city develops this will be the next Chandigarh(If you know what I mean). You will find a lot of brokerages here(Number of brokerages/ in Bhavnagar > that in Bangalore). As there are no big industries (apart from diamond cutting) in the city, the development of this place is quite slow and almost everything eatable is imported from another major city. Bhavnagar is a 3hr drive from Ahmedabad and if you are lucky the roadtrip can be an experience to a wildlife sanctuary. I have seen a herd of camels and a Neelgai(deer)on the highway. My mom has once seen a tortoise cross the road(the sea is 20 km away and must have got washed away to this highway). There are a lot of upturned cows like the ones in the (Me, myself and Irene) after being hit by lorries in the night. I saw two upturned lorries on the highway(I dont know what they hit or what they tried to avoid hitting). So far, these have been my experiences in Gujarat and will post more on any new adventures/events I encounter when I travel to Amvabad(This is what Ahmedabad is called locally) again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bhavnagar Part 1

Almost everything here in Bhavnagar is very different from that in Bangalore or even south India. Only stale news (not yesterday's but the day before's) comes in the Times of India newspaper. And there are no supplements(except for Times Life on sundays). Even the cartoon strips are repeated repeatedly. Nothing ever opens here before 11am. Right from the hair saloon to a restaurant/cart wheel food place. Slim milk(the cheapest) costs Rs.19/litre here and other varieties with fat cost even more considering the fact that Gujarat is a major milk producer in India. Everywhere around, everything is written in gujrati. The city roads here are made in a different way here. They dont lay 3.5 inch thick roads each time like in Bangalore and so there are no 4 inch deep potholes that will break the axle of your car or your vertebra of the back on your bike. Being a tier2/3 city, a few things are cheaper here. A visit to a good hi-fi barber costs Rs.25, whereas this would have cost me Rs.40 in Bangalore. The cost of pressing clothes is also cheaper here at 2 bucks an ordinary male dress piece.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My problems with vista

Apart from how slow vista is(due to its 20 years legacy software with thousands of patches on patches), these are some big time goof ups done by microsoft in vista. I cant make a double click on a mp3 file to enqueue by default in winamp as it did in the windows 98(even when I enable this option in winamp5.05, why? Vista is playing god). The defragment doesn't work. It took three hours to analyse my 30Gb/138Gb and still did not finish analysing.How on earth can you ship products with applications not working? (and yes, the latest service pack is also installed on my pc). Why are there two sets of microsoft offices(2003 and 2007)and the default is 2003? WOW! I am so excited..... Why cant I set a standard template for the music folders? the os's standard template for music folder's sucks. As I play mp3s only, I dont care about the #, genre, artist album.These parameters are hardly ever found in the properties/tag/attribute of the mp3s. All I want is name,type of file and size. Is that that complicated?

Friday, July 4, 2008

A washbasin in the loo....

and this is not what you would expect. A picture here says what I want to say.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I sold my kerchief for Rs.100/-

Unbelievable but true. I sold my old kerchief for Rs.100.Where? What? Who?....At Ahmedabad, Reliance mart. Cant believe it right? They were ready to buy any piece of clothing for Rs.100/-. Well the story is as follows: I went there looking to buy a kurta and found a good one. Then the store guy tells me that there is an offer where any piece of clothing can be exchanged for a coupon of Rs.100 which can be redeemed for anything above Rs.500/-. I wished I had known about this offer earlier. Alas, I had to get rid of something very soon. The first thing that came to my mind were my socks. Then thought a little harder and asked him if a kerchief would come under the offer. He told yes and I exchanged it. Fortunately, I did not have anything else to buy and did not cross the Rs.1000 mark, else I would have been tempted to get another 100 bucks discount giving away another clothing of mine. All I could think of then was playing strip poker and losing it ;-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cord storage now available in India

Yes, it comes as a surprise to me to read that stem cells are now being stored and used commercially in India. I thought that this is still in research activity state and will take a long time to become commercially viable (after getting approvals & legal cases regarding the morality of using these methods), and that too in India. The below link gives quite some information about the expenses involved, the treatments possible with this and some reassuring information.
For a proper introduction on the subject, refer this:
The cells taken from the umbilical cord during child birth can be cryo-freezed and stored for decades together. Presently these cells can be used to cure 75 different ailments and in the time to come, this list is only going to get longer. This is a quite a remarkable development in the history of medicine considering the pace with which it has been implemented in India.